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Kowalski

Mary, Queen of Scots at National Museum

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Posted (edited)

"In my end is my beginning." The subtitle of the National Museum of Scotland’s Mary, Queen of Scots is lifted from the heraldic motto inscribed on the Mary Stuart’s coat of arms at the time of her birth in 1542. After seeing the show, the prescience of those words seems almost uncanny.

Unlike most exhibitions about historical figures, this one starts not with a birth but with a death. The first work of art we see in it is the full-length portrait of Mary commissioned by Elizabeth Curle, the lady-in-waiting who prepared the Queen for execution. Its placement at the beginning of the show reminds us that however gripping the story of Mary’s brief and turbulent reign, it was the manner of her death that gave meaning and importance to her life.

For as far as I can make out, almost everything that happened to Mary during her time as Queen of the Scots was essentially sordid - not much more than a catalogue of murder and misalliance set amid the tribal skirmishing that passed for politics north of the border in the 16th century. For all her glamour, from the perspective of what she achieved Mary’s reign amounted to little more than an historical footnote.

But when Elizabeth murdered her cousin, she committed the crime not only of regicide but of sacrilege, thereby elevating a fascinating but fundamentally flawed figure to the heroine and martyr whose story is known to every school child. Elizabeth’s catastrophic miscalculation is the reason why Antonia Fraser’s biography of Mary, published more than 45 years ago, is still in print. And in another way, too, Mary’s end was the beginning of her greatness. For in a twist of fate she would surely have relished, it is from Mary and not Elizabeth that all British monarchs, including our present Queen, descend.

Link: http://www.telegraph...f-Scotland.html

Another good link here about this: http://www.dailyreco...s-probe-2011146

A CSI-STYLE forensic examination of one of the most notorious murders in Scottish history has unearthed astonishing new clues.

The investigation is part of a major exhibition about Mary, Queen of Scots.

It looks at the murder of Mary’s second husband Lord Darnley – and asks whether she was to blame.

Darnley, a feckless, philandering bisexual, was found strangled in 1567 after an explosion at the house where he was staying in Edinburgh.

One of the queen’s most trusted noblemen, the Earl of Bothwell James Hepburn, stood trial for the murder. He was found not guilty – and married Mary a month after his acquittal.

George Dalgleish, keeper of Scottish history at the National Museum of Scotland, said: “We have presented part of the exhibition

as a historical CSI examination of the murder of Darnley and believe it shines a whole new light on the subject.

“A detailed map drawn by one of the spies working for William Cecil, Elizabeth’s spymaster general who would be M if Mary’s story was ever made into a Bond movie , shows the murder site at Kirk o’ Field.

Boy, would I love to go to this! I have always found Mary, Queen of Scots a fascinating character. I've read quite a bit about her life, and the murder of Lord Darnley, and I don't believe, she had anything to do with his death, even though most movies and historical fiction books portray her as being involved...That really irks me....

Edited by Kowalski
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Posted (edited)

Ealdwita snippet alert!.......

Mary's third husband, James Hepburn, 4th.Earl of Bothwell, although acquitted of the murder of Darnley, fled Scotland after a confrontation at Carberry Hill in June 1567 and attempted to reach Denmark to raise an army. However, he was captured on the coast of Norway and imprisoned in Castle Dragsholm by the powerful family of Anna Throndsen, an aristocratic Norwegian lady whom he'd previously married by 'handfasting' - a ceremony considered legitimate and binding under Norwegian law but not in Scotland, and dumped in order to woo Mary. (Now that is bad luck - running aground in the ex's back yard!)

He spent the last ten years of his life chained to a stake (which can still be seen, together with the circular groove worn around it by his pacing, in his cell) He died in 1578, completely insane and is buried in Fårevejle churchyard where it is said, that until the 1920's his mummified corpse could be viewed .

(My notes - more available if required - no extra charge!)

Edited by ealdwita
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Posted (edited)

Seems like Anna's family would have been happy that ol' Jimmy left her... He doesn't seem the 'good husband' type... Though there are a few people I wouldn't mind seeing share his fate...

edit: (I must admit, my first thought when I saw the title of this thread was "I thought she was dead?")

Edited by Taun
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Several years back I read Alison Weir's book, "Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley". It really changed my view of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. It also made me realize how weak and pathetic Mary was.

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Several years back I read Alison Weir's book, "Mary, Queen of Scots and the Murder of Lord Darnley". It really changed my view of the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. It also made me realize how weak and pathetic Mary was.

Okay, first of all, Alison Weir has this "All Hail Glorious Elizabeth" type of attitude. For a better understanding of Mary, I would read Antonia Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary wasn't pathetic or weak, in my opinion. You simply just can't compare the reigns of Mary and Elizabeth, because they were both completely different situations. Where in England Elizabeth has Cecil and Walsingham to help her, Mary had no one to advise her. And anyone she did trust, eventually turned on her. Mary's problem was she just couldn't see the bad in people. Also, after the birth of her son James, her health never really recovered. She had always had a weak constitution, but when it came time to rally, she could be quite courageous and cunning. Don't forget her half brother, Moray plotted against her at every turn, and even her own husband, Darnley, plotted against her. I think he even wanted her to miscarry James and die, so he could gain the crown matrimonial. Why else would he insist on Rizzio being killed in the queens presence? That's cold!

Ealdwita snippet alert!.......

Mary's third husband, James Hepburn, 4th.Earl of Bothwell, although acquitted of the murder of Darnley, fled Scotland after a confrontation at Carberry Hill in June 1567 and attempted to reach Denmark to raise an army. However, he was captured on the coast of Norway and imprisoned in Castle Dragsholm by the powerful family of Anna Throndsen, an aristocratic Norwegian lady whom he'd previously married by 'handfasting' - a ceremony considered legitimate and binding under Norwegian law but not in Scotland, and dumped in order to woo Mary. (Now that is bad luck - running aground in the ex's back yard!)

He spent the last ten years of his life chained to a stake (which can still be seen, together with the circular groove worn around it by his pacing, in his cell) He died in 1578, completely insane and is buried in Fårevejle churchyard where it is said, that until the 1920's his mummified corpse could be viewed .

(My notes - more available if required - no extra charge!)

I believe before he married Mary (if you wanna call it that...) he was married to a Lady Jean Gordon, who he divorced. And yes, Bothwell had a bad track record when it came to women...

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Thanks, Kowalski! I will definitely pick up that book.

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Thanks, Kowalski! I will definitely pick up that book.

Your welcome! It's really a good book. Don't get me wrong, Alison Weir is a good historian, and I have a ton of her books, but she can be biased. Antonia Fraser also wrote a wonderful book on Marie Antionette as well.

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I believe before he married Mary (if you wanna call it that...) he was married to a Lady Jean Gordon, who he divorced. And yes, Bothwell had a bad track record when it came to women...

Ooops, I'd completely forgotten about Lady Jean. (Serves me right for trying to be clever by posting without proper reference!)

She went on to have 2 more marriages and (maybe) eight children before dying at the age of 83.

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Ooops, I'd completely forgotten about Lady Jean. (Serves me right for trying to be clever by posting without proper reference!)

She went on to have 2 more marriages and (maybe) eight children before dying at the age of 83.

Yep. Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Gordon,_Countess_of_Bothwell

Curious, the Gordon line also produced, Lord Byron, whose real name was George Gordon.....That's interesting....

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I'll have to pick up the Antonia Fraser book. I learned a little about Mary when I went to Scotland years ago. A fascinating woman.

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